Log in

Curious · Beefus

The Many Adventures of Curious Beefus and Friends

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *

ImprovisedMan200 In High School, Junior year, we all had to choose an author to focus on as our major author.  I was lucky enough to end up with Ray Bradbury, who I loved, and really enjoyed the project.

15 Years Later, I’m finally getting to make direct use of that initial foray into Bradbury, as Unexpected Productions puts up the show I proposed, The Improvised Man.

It’s been a really fun project to work on for me… Bradbury writes a lot of fantastic and futuristic stories, but they all depend a lot on his characters and their relationships with each other and with whatever the subject of the story is.  Since these are the things that, to me, really make an improv scene work, I’m excited to see what we can do with it on stage!

* * *
Belgium as been awesome so far!  Kevin, Susie and I flew out on Friday at 7:30 am, and arrived at 7:00 am Saturday in Brussels.  Fairly uneventful flight, although a woman three rows in front of us had a stroke and was attended to by paramedics who happened to be on board.  I was hungry, so I ate a banana and peanut-butter sandwich while I watched them work.

From Brussels, we took the train to Leuven, and were picked up by our host, Jerome and taken to his house, which seems to have about 40 rooms, all connected by odd doors, hallways, and twisty staircases.  Also, there's a room in the middle with no doors to it.  Jerome says he climbed into it once, and its empty, but I don't know.  Susie says she felt a presence her first night up to the bathroom.  And because its Susie, it generally annoyed her by not responding to her hello.

Leuven is one of those neat old walled Europeans towns, with a great town square and amazing beer.  We have bicycles, and bike along a canal every day.  (Considering the amount of beer we've been drinking this has made for some interesting rides home)  They have the "Longest Bar in the World" which is a giant square with bars stacked side by side as far as the eye can see.  They have rotating closing hours, going clockwise, so as long as you keep moving, you can stay out as long as you want. :)

Sunday, we performed shortform with everyone in two groups.  There's La Gata, from Columbia, Improv Melbourne, Inspinazie, from Belgium, and us.  Audiences here are definitely less friendly to gagging, which is great: it leaves us room to do some more truthful exploration on stage.

Monday, we workshopped, and Monday night, we performed Improvised Shakespeare with Improv Melbourne: This was one of my favorite shows I've ever done, and I left feeling super happy.  (First curtain call, too!)  We did a tragedy, and played it fairly dramatically, which felt great.  I really love playing with the imagery and metaphor in Shakespeare.  And I had a blast playing with Jason, Patty and Rama from Melbourne, who all had a great time!

Yesterday, Tuesday, we workshopped again, and then performed Campfire with Inspinazie.  On Sunday, they played a form called The Wake, which is derived from Campfire (although it doesn't rely on audience stories, which is integral to Campfire to me, so it felt very different).  Campfire was fun, since Belgium doesn't have a tradition of sitting around a campfire and telling ghost stories.  As it turns out, the audience stories were very close to what we hear in the States, so I suppose ghosts and haunts know no borders.  After us, La Gata performed Chubimba (sp?), which is their action movie style.  Was fun to watch, as the Columbians are very physical and aren't lazy with their mime work the way we Americans tend to be. :)

Woke up early this morning, which is why I'm blogging.  We're heading to Bruges today, which is supposed to be beautiful.  No performances from us tonight or tomorrow: On Friday, we're performing Spoken, and I'm looking forward to it!

* * *
Type "your name needs" (replacing "your name" with your first name) into Google.
Type the first 10 things that come up.

Tony needs his booboo's kissed
Tony needs an avatar
Tony needs a haircut
Tony needs to relax
Tony needs u help lol
Tony needs a drummer
Tony needs me to entertain the crowd so he can escape.
Tony needs a loving forever home
Tony needs a BIG one!
Tony needs to come back to Arizona and try a Sonoran Hot Dog.

Wow, all true!

* * *
Back when I was writing a lot of poetry, my standards got better much faster than my actual ability did.  I became insecure, and it was easy to be jealous of other poets, dismissive of their poetry, etc.  Looking back, it seems pretty ridiculous, and I can pin it to one thing.  I was basically internalizing questions like "What level am I at?", "What level SHOULD I be at?", "Am I good enough?", "Am I better than X?", etc.  Basically, I was trying to measure my position on some made-up graph.

With improv and with illustrating, I've tried to take a different tact, and its done me a ton of good.  Rather than ever trying to measure my ability against any standard or anyone else's ability, I've only let myself measure it as, "Am I getting better?"  In other words, now I work at measuring my direction rather than my position.  There are a ton of benefits to asking the question in this way.

* It's independent of other improvisers, so I can enjoy seeing my peers do great things and not worry that it somehow shines a poor light on me.
* It is, by nature, a constructive question: I don't spend much time asking if I'm getting worse, or worrying about how fast I'm getting better.
* When I have a bad performance or drawing, there's only an instance where I have to answer my internal question negatively, and I can then immediate learn from the performance, and shift the answer back to a positive one.
* If the answer is ever, "no", I can go do something about it immediately.  This is a big deal for me, as I always feel empowered, where, in the past, I often felt "stuck" until I received some big compliment.

This isn't limited to creative pursuits.  I like it when it comes to fitness, for instance.  If I focus on, "I'm overweight", I'm stuck with a fact that takes a long time to change.  On the other hand, if I focus on, "Am I losing weight?" or "Am I on my way to being in better shape?" I can go change the answer to that immediately.

Of course, as we get better at something (or closer to our ideal weight), progress certainly slows down, and we have to be ready for that.  I think there are some great ways of reforming the question at that point (which is not to say I've reached this point in too many areas <grin>): in some cases, I may decide I'm good with where I've gotten, and I'm going to reform the question as, "Am I maintaining where I want to be?"  In more cases, though, I change the question to something like, "Am I broadening my abilities?  Am I using my abilities to become better at other thing?  Am I finding new ways to enjoy doing this?  Am I helping others to be better?"

These are different questions, but they're still ways of measuring the direction you're heading rather than the point you've arrived at.  So what direction are you heading?
* * *
I'm picky about found art, but I really like this one:

Google Translate - Fastest Rising (U.S.), 2008

   1. you
   2. what
   3. thank you
   4. please
   5. love

(Source: http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2008/united_states.html)

* * *
* * *
* * *
I promised myself to look back at this post four years later, and determine how accurate my worst fears and hopes about Bush's second term were.  Keeping my promise (unlike my promise to post art here!), here goes...

Each fear had a positive outcome that would prove me wrong as well.

Fear 1
We leave Iraq in chaos, without apology, thereby completing a war that (a) kills thousands of Iraqi civilians and over a thousand American troops, (b) increases anti-American sentiment around the world (much of which is, after this outcome, completely justifiable), and (c) costs our country billions.

Result:  A Little Better than Feared
Well, we didn't leave...  but its still in chaos, and its definitely cost us billions.  Anti-American sentiment is pretty high, and we've seen it in a few places.  But at least we've kept our responsibility to getting things a bit more stable, and we're there.  Its kind of interesting that, while I never believe we should have gone to war in the first place, the surge will probably be viewed by history as a success (although there were a lot of contributing factors to settling things down a bit).  I'm going to say that my fear didn't come true.  Things didn't get much better, but they haven't gotten too much worse.  I'd say my postive outcome came true, so I'm going to mark this fear as not coming true.

Fear 2
Religious law prohibiting homosexual union is written into law, or even worse, amended into the Constitution.

Result: Better than Feared
While there was no gain at the national level, my fear didn't come true, and both candidates this year have somewhat committed to ensuring that civil unions extend the rights of marriage to homosexual relationships.  So even if the administration didn't make any strides in the right direction here, the American people seem to have come along a bit.  At the state level, we've seen some progress but also some resulting backlash... we'll see how California's proposition goes.

Fear 3
We go for more years without any gain, or worse, a loss of progress on reaching any kind of environmental sustainability.

Result: Accurate Fear
I haven't seen much gain.  A little more awareness, but we're still headed for disaster.  The "best" thing that happened was probably the insane gas prices, which forced us to look at our individual usage patterns.  Americans recognize this problem, but they're not yet willing to make sacrifices on it.  Just look at the trouble Obama is in today over a January comment that suggested an anti-coal stance.  Honestly, we should all have an anti-coal stance: it doesn't have to be anti-industry or anti-labor: we just need to have a clear agenda to move all of us, people, industry, and laborers over to alternative energy production.  And so far, I don't see enough being done.

Ammended Fear:
This wasn't really listed as a fear, but I made an incorrect assumption that Bush might try to appoint a judge to the supreme court with a clear anti-Roe-vs-Wade bias.  I didn't like all his picks, but John Roberts seemed like a pretty good one.  So I'll give props to Bush for that one, and admit that I misunderestimated him. :)

Overall Result: Tony is not the next Nostradamus.  Its good to remember that the fears that develop during campaigns are usually overstated.  Fears that nothing will change are likely more accurate than fears that everything will change.  So my new fear for this next administration, whoever wins, is simply that not enough changes... or that changes come from crisis rather than planning.

We shall see!

* * *

While in Arizona, I sketched a lot in my journal, and I realized I've not been good a doing so.  As such, I'm going to try and post a sketch a day.  My schedule means I'll probably miss days sometimes, so the rule there is that I have to catch up on Sunday.

I'm not holding myself to any kind of standard.  I may post sketches, paintings, posters, or even doodles some days.  And I may post older sketches sometimes, just for the heck of it.


While in Arizona, we came across a historical marker where they found the original Smokey the Bear, a cub who had lost his mother to a fire, and who had two burned paws.

* * *

Sue and I are back from our Cascade Pass to Steheikan backpacking trip...  it was awesome!  Now I'm preparing to take off for Arizona, for another week of hiking / backpacking with Miles Baxter, Scurge of Hexapoda.  Pictures soon!

When I return, I want to refocus how I use this blog.  Up until now, its been a random dumping place for whatever artistic passions are currently grabbing me, along with occasional "random life" posts, like this one.

I may spin off art and improv into their own sub-blogs, but I only want to do that if I can find a way to post more without taking too much time away from Sue, work, and pursuit of said artistic interests.  We shall see!

* * *
It occurred to me today that, with my iPhone and Wikipedia companion,
I finally have The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Of course, my 3g access would probably be limited from the hold of a Vogon

* * *
* * *